Chapter 01


In this first chapter we have decided to approach the problem of suicide with a territorial focus, Asturias being the most affected region in the country. The aim has been to show suicide as a social problem, with multiple factors and not exclusively personal.

Suicides in Spain are the leading cause of unnatural death in the country, exceeding the figure of 4,000 people since 2021. This means that 11 people die by suicide every day.

There are three areas where the incidence of suicide is particularly high: eastern Andalusia, between the towns of Iznájar, Alcalá la Real and Priego de Córdoba, which form the so-called “suicide triangle”; Galicia, especially the northern area, and Asturias, the community that leads the percentage of suicides in Spain per 100,000 inhabitants.

In Asturias there are different places and areas with high percentages, some that even double or triple the national average. The case of the mining basins is one of them, with the exception that it has always had a high percentage of deaths by suicide over the decades. For this reason, we have sought to investigate the relationship between the socioeconomic, historical and cultural structure of these territories and their high suicide rates, where we have found factors such as the high consumption of alcohol, drugs and psychotropic drugs or not having a future perspective. The end of mining activity in itself is not a defining factor, but the absence of a sustainable economy in the localities and the degradation of the identity of this territory, as well as the progressive population decline.

We cannot forget that suicide comes from multiple factors and there is not usually a single cause that leads people to take their own lives in order to stop suffering. Personal motives such as the rupture of close ties, whether friendship, work or family, are not always the determining factor. The situation of this territory is framed in a tradition that is not very communicative when it comes to expressing intimacy, feelings or problems. For this reason, the mining basins have become an ideal breeding ground for depression and other emotional and affective problems, patterns that can be repeated between generations and that ultimately lead to suicide.

For years, attempts have been made to establish a National Suicide Prevention Plan without success, despite the fact that the figures far exceed any other non-natural death, although communication strategies have been found that have helped to reduce other types of deaths. If there are 20 attempts for every suicide death, how many overdoses due to psychotropic drugs or other substances, accidents or similar are really suicides?

It is impossible to confront a public health problem by denying or hiding its reality. It is not only important, but urgent, to talk about suicide.

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